In May, I went to EMC World, had fun, learned a lot, made some great connections, and returned with a bit of conference swag. Probably my favorite take-home from EMC World is the Jawbone JAMBOX that I won in one of the giveaways.
The JAMBOX is a Bluetooth-enabled portable speaker (Gear Review scheduled). It lets you stream audio in great-sounding stereo, and even has a built-in mic, so it can turn your phone into a high-quality speakerphone.
After syncing it to my phone and testing the sound quality (amazing), my first thought was how great it would be to use in my car. I could stream music to it from the cloud through my phone, or have a great hands-free way to take calls when I’m driving.
The problem was there was no good place to put it in my car. Well, that’s not completely true. On top of my dashboard is a great spot for it. I can reach the buttons comfortably while driving, and it’s the right place for it acoustically. The problem was that tight turns or sudden stops could send it sliding or tumbling. Time to make myself a simple solution to this problem. I decided to make a dashboard mount from Sugru.
If you’re not familiar with it, Sugru is some great stuff for small-scale do-it-yourself projects. It’s a Play-Doh-like substance that cures at room temperature to become a strong silicone rubber. In the curing process, Sugru will bond to, well, almost anything.
What You’ll Need
To make the dashboard mount, you’ll need:
- Spray Cleaner
- Two mini packs (5g each) of Sugru
- Plastic grocery bag or cling film
- Dishwashing soap
Clean the Dashboard
In order to get the Sugru to form a good bond with the dashboard, you’ll need to make sure the surface is clean and dry before you begin. You’ll want to make sure your hands are clean and dry, too.
Pick Your Spot
Figure out where on your dashboard you want the JAMBOX to be. For me, this involved finding the right combination of: reachable from the driver’s seat, good sound quality, and mostly-flat surface. Here’s mine in position:
Mark Your Spot
Use your pencil to mark where the JAMBOX’s corners are on the dashboard. My markings (below) were a little faint (and purple since that was the first pencil I found), but as long as you can see yours, you’re good. Color or neatness doesn’t matter here; the markings will end up being covered by the Sugru.
Prepare Your JAMBOX
The goal is to have the Sugru bond to the dashboard in a shape that will hold your JAMBOX in place, but still allow you to take it with you when you leave the car, so it’s important to make sure the Sugru doesn’t bond to the JAMBOX. However, to get the best fit, you’ll want to mold the Sugru around the JAMBOX.
To solve this, put your JAMBOX inside the grocery bag, or wrap it with cling film. Put some dishwashing soap on your finger and smear it evenly along the bottom edges of the plastic-wrapped JAMBOX (the areas that will come in contact with the Sugru). This will let you get a perfect fit while keeping your JAMBOX safe.
Grab Your Sugru
For this project you’ll need two of the 5g Mini Packs of Sugru. I’d suggest using the same color, but it’s your dashboard so feel free to be expressive. In my case, I had two packs of blue on-hand, and since my JAMBOX is also blue I went with that.
Working with Sugru
Once you’ve opened the packet of Sugru, exposure to the air starts the curing process, but you’ve got about 30 minutes before it will become difficult to work with. It’s important to remember this timing for two reasons:
- You don’t have to rush. Take your time to get the Sugru formed the way you want, where you want it.
- Make sure you’ve got the time you need to work uninterrupted. Once you open packet, you can’t set it down mid-job and come back to it later.
Form and Place the Sugru
Each pack of Sugru will become one side of the mount, holding the JAMBOX in place between them. Roll the Sugru between your hands to make a coil, then place it on one of the pencil marks on the dashboard, bending for the corners. Press it down onto the dashboard to make sure you’re getting good contact for bonding. Do the same with the other pack of Sugru on the other pencil mark.
Fitting the JAMBOX
Take your plastic-wrapped JAMBOX and place it on the dashboard between the two pieces of Sugru. Use your fingers to press the Sugru up against the JAMBOX, especially at the corners to get good right angles. If you used the dishwashing soap as described above, the Sugru won’t bond to the plastic on the JAMBOX.
In my case, I made sure that a little bit of the Sugru ended up underneath the JAMBOX as well. Mostly because the surface had a slight slope to it and I wanted to JAMBOX to sit level.
Once you’re satisfied with your shaping, lift your JAMBOX straight up out of the Sugru. Here’s what mine looked like at this point:
Here’s another view, through the windshield, looking down:
Now you wait. It takes Sugru about 24 hours to cure, harden, and bond completely, so give it time to do its work.
The Finished Mount
Once the Sugru has finished curing, it’ll still be a little flexible, but will hold its shape. And it will be attached to the dashboard. Here’s what mine looked like post-cure:
To use the mount, just slide your JAMBOX into it from above. Your JAMBOX will stay securely in place on your dash, and you can just pick it up and take it with you when you leave the car.